The Economist's Economic Mailing
You know a mailing from The Economist when you see it: a full-color, glossy, information-packed, 9" x 12" package in either a magalog or envelope format. It's a formula that has worked well for the newsweekly for more than five years.
But such a hefty package does pose certain problems, such as, well, weight. The cost of mailing these larger packages to Latin America was just too high,
explains Hilde Sprung, circulation subscriptions director for The Economist, so the circulation team developed a smaller voucher package as a more economical alternative. That effort was so effective, asserts Sprung, that they decided to test it out to expires in the United States. That first test took place in September 2004; in April, the effort appeared in the Who's Mailing What! Archive (Archive code #205-172583-0504).
The front of the yellow, red and white #10 outer has a slightly oversized address window, Presorted Standard stamp and the teaser, "We've reserved 2 FREE Gifts just for you!" The back of the outer bears only The Economist's
familiar red and white logo and a return address.
Inside, expires first are greeted by a pretty standard voucher, which The Economist has labeled an "Exclusive Benefit Voucher Form."
The top, detachable section of the 8" x 11" sheet explains the two offers: 25 weeks for $49.90 or 45 weeks for $79. Both terms include four risk-free issues and offer the 2005 Pocket World in Figures as a premium; 45-week subscribers also receive a report titled Intelligent Life. The bottom two-thirds of the sheet is the "Statement of Benefits," listing what is included with the subscription: quarterly tech supplements, 20 surveys, the aforementioned premiums, and unlimited membership to www.economist.com.
The package also includes a double-sided buckslip highlighting Intelligent Life, a BRE, and a six-panel brochure that details each of the benefits listed on the voucher. The first and second panels of the brochure sell the Pocket World in Figures premium, while subsequent panels provide more in-depth explanations of the magazine's editorial content as well as the surveys, tech reports and Web site. The back panel features six testimonials from, among others, Bill Gates, Newsweek and Oracle CEO Larry Ellison. According to Sprung, this brochure is new for the April mailing of this package. In prior iterations, the brochure was a more basic, four-panel piece that "didn't sell the magazine as much," explains Sprung. "It gave you the benefits, but ... because we are so expensive, we need to put a little more sell into the package than vouchers [typically] have."
This scaled-back package has fared well with expires, states Sprung; so well, in fact, that it currently is being tested with prospects to see if it will provide a lift in response in that segment as well. Sprung does not foresee this voucher package replacing any of The Economist's current controls, but she does see it becoming an important part of The Economist's "peripheral" program, being mailed out occasionallyespecially to its expires who are mailed quite frequentlyto help keep those high-performing 9" x 12" controls fresh.